ORA, Suzi Digby – Refuge from the Flames, Miserere and the Savonarola Legacy (2016) 24bit FLAC

ORA, Suzi Digby - Refuge from the Flames, Miserere and the Savonarola Legacy (2016) 24bit FLAC Download

ORA, Suzi Digby – Refuge from the Flames, Miserere and the Savonarola Legacy (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit, 96 KHz | Time – 01:17:53 minutes | 1,26 GB | Genre: Classical

It takes a bit of reading of small, brutally lightface, sans serif print to figure out what’s going on here, but once you do, you’re rewarded with a truly superb album of Renaissance and contemporary a cappella choral music that captures what Renaissance singers and hearers would have found significant in the music they heard. There are several interesting aspects to the program, any one of which might be enough to make Refuge from the Flames worth your time and money. It begins with two versions of the old chestnut Miserere, by Gregorio Allegri. But it’s a chestnut no more: the score has been re-edited by Ben Byram-Wigfield, removing familiar features such as the shift of tonal center and the soaring ascent to high C. Wigfield argues in a note that these details are anachronistic, and likely the result of scribal error. Perhaps his conclusions can be debated, but it’s striking how much the work changes in his version. It fits better with what comes next: the Miserere is a setting of Psalm 50, which inspired devotional poetry by the monk and insurgent activist Girolamo Savonarola, who antagonized both the church and secular authority and got himself first excommunicated and then torched for his trouble. The main intent of this album is to explore the significance of Savonarola’s writings for composers. The program builds from a pair of simple, but awesomely powerful, anonymous sacred madrigals to larger pieces of French polyphony by Le Jeune and Verdelot, to Byrd — who saw in Savonarola’s sufferings an analogue to what Catholics were going through in Britain and delivered a profound setting of Savonarola’s Infelix ego — to contemporary composers from Britain and Scandinavia for whom the words of Savonarola continue to resonate. This program situates contemporary a cappella choral pieces in relation to Renaissance music in something beyond simple similarity of texture, and it brilliantly illuminates what a Renaissance motet might have meant in its own time. Throw in emotionally direct, but clean, singing from the 18-member group ORA and fine sound from St. Alban’s church, and really the result is a must-have choral collection.

01. ORA – Miserere (Ben Byram Wigfield edit.) (12:05)
02. ORA – Iesu, sommo conforto (01:09)
03. ORA – Alma, che si gentile (01:54)
04. ORA – Che fai qui, core? (01:16)
05. ORA – Ecce quam bonum (02:33)
06. ORA – Letamini in Domino (02:06)
07. ORA – Infelix ego (12:14)
08. ORA – Infelix ego after Byrd (11:31)
09. ORA – O quam dulcis (04:24)
10. ORA – Tristitia obsedit me, mango (04:59)
11. ORA – Ecce quomodo moritur (01:47)
12. ORA – Tristitia obsedit me, amici (08:43)
13. ORA – Miserere (13:06)



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